A young Negro physicist and his wife last night substantiated statements that the Phillips Brooks housing registry includes discriminatory listings. The statements, published in this month's Atlantic, told of the five-month period in which Robert L. and Betty Powell tried unsuccessfully to obtain housing through PBH. Meanwhile, an official at PBH admitted that there is some discrimination in the program.
"We just heard about the article today," Mrs. David Clark, secretary for the housing registry program, stated yesterday. "No one around here seems to know anything about these people." Mrs. Clark added that lack of funds for the program prohibited the registry from keeping records of prospective renters.
Although Powell found at least seven cases of discrimination in the 40 PBH-listed openings he visited, he emphasized that "the PBH listings are cleaner than any other list I know about. Only the Negro grapevine is better for obtaining tips about non-discriminating landlords."
Powell at first reported all cases of discrimination to PBH. Those listings were immediately removed. When a new secretary began work, Powell did not find the same degree of cooperation, however. "I got the impression that may be someone wanted to be ostrichy about the thing." Powell continued, "so I decided to forget about reporting discrimination."
The scientist visited PBH at least three times a week during the twenty-week search. "When I though I had a not thing, I would inquire immediately, sometimes missing work. The thing that really ripped me was that many of the listings were satisfactory, but the landlords turned me down because of my color."
PBH started a campaign this fall to discover listers who are discriminatory as well as general conditions of housing. Little has been accomplished as yet. Only Mrs. Clark has time to investigate, and she has not yet completed an intensive survey.
Powell, who finally found an apartment in Bedford Gardens near his research project, added that renters who were on the list tended to disguise their discrimination more carefully, and seemed to be "more polite and slicked up."